In spite of previous high-profile disappointments tied to the crypto industry, such as 3AC and the ill-fated investment into FTX, the Singaporean government has been approving quite a few crypto platforms during the past weeks.
The latest to get the preliminary nod is the South Korean giant – UPbit.
Spree Of Approvals
Ripple, Coinbase, and smaller players such as Sygnum and GSR have all been awarded an MPI (Major Payment Institute) license by the Singaporean government earlier this month.
Although several more details still need to be hashed out before UPbit Singapore can begin operating at full capacity, the in-principle agreement (IPA) allows the crypto exchange to provide digital payment token services within the city-state. The full license should be granted at a later date as a cursory matter as long as no unexpected issues come to light.
Alex Kim – the CEO of UPbit – stated that obtaining the MPI license was a major milestone that his firm had worked toward since 2018, given the regional and global prominence of Singapore in financial markets.
“Singapore, as our global powerhouse, unlocks new capabilities for retail, institutional, and infrastructure-focused businesses.”
Going by trading volume, UPbit is the largest crypto exchange by far in Korea, raking in figures nearly ten times those of its closest competitor, Bithumb, according to Statista.
However, both exchanges were investigated by South Korean police earlier this year. The headquarters of both firms were raided in May as part of an investigation into local politician Kim Nam-Huk. However, it’s worth noting that the raids were most probably due to the transfer of the politicians’ crypto holdings between them and not necessarily indicative of any fault with the exchanges themselves.
Mutual Trust Is Key
UPbit Singapore Pte. Ltd. will operate under the umbrella of UPbit APAC, which controls the exchange’s business in Thailand and Indonesia. UPbit APAC also runs VerifyVASP, a proprietary Travel Rule solution provider.
Azman Hamid, UPbit Singapore’s Chief Compliance Officer, thanked the MAS for the trust and reiterated his firm’s commitment to aiding Singapore in maintaining its dominance in financial markets.
“We are incredibly proud to receive the IPA from MAS, a globally renowned financial regulator. This approval reflects our unwavering commitment to building trusted digital asset businesses in Singapore. Through engaging collaboration with the regulator, businesses, and communities, we will contribute to further establishing Singapore as the leading hub for the next generation of financial businesses.”
With this milestone, UPbit will continue developing tools for developers – such as VerifyVASP – as well as its trading capabilities.